Welcome to our joint-blogging series for the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild Challenge – you can read more about the campaign and ourselves in our introduction page.
Matt (in Cambridge)
So, I’ve spent the last 30 days going wild. What has this felt like and have I changed in myself or made change in the world?
I like to think that posting about this on many days has drawn some people’s own attention to nature. But my blog and social media have pretty small readerships in the grand scheme of things.
Some of the activities I’ve taken part in have been large – the UN climate talks, the large climate event in London and Rainforest: Live.
But mostly, spending this month going wild has made a change in me.
Today I went wild like I would on most days. I had the day off and went for a walk around the fields behind the cottage, where I saw ringlet, comma, small tortoiseshell, skipper and other butterflies. There were woodpeckers, swifts and a sparrowhawk.
This morning I spent over an hour emptying the moth trap and identifying some of the species within it.
But spending this month trying to go wild has made me realise that even as someone who works in the conservation sector it can be pretty hard to fit in some wild time on a normal working day.
I have certainly tried hard to document and write more about the wildlife I encounter. I will continue to do that beyond the end of this month.
More profoundly, thanks to this month, I’ve thought deeper and harder than I ever thought I would. My first love was wildlife, and I’ve spent much of my life since then working to protect it and help others enjoy it. But for someone whose life is centred so much on wildlife, I spend a huge proportion of my time at a desk, in meetings, on trains and asleep.
This leaves very little time for wildlife itself, far less than I feel comfortable with. I don’t know what this means yet, but I do miss the days when I was a nature reserve warden.
#30DaysWild has forced me to begin seriously reassessing my job, the location where I live and the way I spend my time. As some other big things feel like they’re shifting in my life, and I turn 30 (years old) myself next year, this month couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. It truly has begun a process of evaluating how my life to date has looked over the past 30 years, and what I want the next 30 to look like.
Here’s to 30!
Megan (in Dorset)
Today was pretty good for connecting with nature as it was my first day back at work after my holiday and I was down at the Chesil Beach Centre. As well as the usual admiration of Chesil Beach and the Fleet Lagoon, and its associated wildlife, I also gave a short talk to a group about Chesil Beach and did a beach clean (that had originally begun as a nature walk).
After closing up the centre, I headed over to Lorton Meadows Conservation Centre as I was welcoming a local Brownie group and a local Guides group to the reserve for pond dipping and a reserve walk respectively. They were wonderful groups who really enjoyed discovering the creatures of Lorton – particularly the dragonfly nymphs in the pond!
And with that, the 30 Days Wild campaign, and thus Megan & Matt Go Wild!, draws to a close. What a fantastic month it has been. Blogging every day has made me realise just how much I do connect with nature. Sometimes it is just in a small way (admiring landscapes for example), sometimes there are days when it’s all I do (the Scotland trip as a whole!).
It is hard to choose my highlights for the 30 Days Wild, but I’ll give it a go
- ticked off two of my 2015 Wildlife Resolutions – organise a bioblitz and see an otter.
- visited Scotland (inc seeing new wildlife [otters! pine martens! eagles!], paddling in a sea loch, going to Mull & Iona, and more!)
- been interviewed about wildlife on the radio
- rewrote a pop song from a naturalist’s point of view
- sat and relaxed in the middle of a wildflower meadow
As well as connecting with nature, the 30 Days Wild campaign and this blogging project has helped me connect with Matt more. We’ve learnt more about what the other does in their job, what wildlife they’ve seen that day and worked together as a team to joint-blog. Although it sounds cheesy, 30 Days Wild has brought us closer, despite the distance between us. Thankfully, we have also managed to meet up a number of times in June and connect with nature together in some wonderful locations – Llanbwchllyn Lake (Wales) for my bioblitz, Brownsea Island (Dorset) and Ardnamurchan (Scotland).
I know that we will both continue to engage with nature and share our love of wildlife with each other, our friends and family, and the internet in general.